Qualified immunity is no more in New Mexico.
In a key victory for police accountability, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed HB 4 into law on April 7. Known as the New Mexico Civil Rights Act, this legislation eliminates qualified immunity as a defense for public officials in New Mexico who violate someone’s rights.
¨This is not an anti-police bill,” Governor Lujan Grisham said in a statement, as reported by the Associated Press (AP). “This bill does not endanger any first responder or public servant — so long as they conduct themselves professionally within the bounds of our constitution and with a deep and active respect for the sacred rights it guarantees all of us.”
The AP also notes that “the bill was backed by an unusual coalition of advocates for policing reforms and social justice causes,” including “the civic-minded founders of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream…” Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield are co-chairs of the Campaign to End Qualified Immunity.
With HB 4, New Mexico becomes the second state, after Colorado, to abolish qualified immunity. Other states currently reexamining the validity of this doctrine include West Virginia, Texas, and Minnesota.
Read the entire AP article here.